Lease agreement based on general principles
In the popular consciousness it has become established that the parties to a lease agreement can practically freely form the provisions. This is not entirely true, drawing up the agreement should take into account not only our preferences, but also the letter of the law. Lease agreements are concluded under different circumstances. For this reason, Polish legislation has provided for 3 different types of rental agreements. Each of them is characterized by different rights, obligations and limitations. It is worth choosing consciously and reducing the risk of costly mistakes of ignorance. Today, the most popular lease agreement will be discussed – the agreement on general principles. Subsequent articles will zoom in on the other 2 types: occasional lease agreement and institutional lease agreement which, unlike the agreement on general principles, do not refer to this law.
The lease agreement is regulated by Article 659 of the Civil Code. According to it, the owner undertakes to give the lessor a thing to use in exchange for the payment of rent. Rent does not have to be paid in monetary currency (remuneration can be paid in benefits or, for example, bags of wheat). A lease is always for a fee.
Lease agreement based on general principles
A lease agreement based on general principles is the oldest type of lease agreement. The landlord can only be an individual, and the tenant can be an individual, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a general partnership, a limited and limited joint-stock partnership, a partnership, a zoo and a joint-stock company.
In this type of agreement, all the rules are governed by the Law on the Protection of Tenants’ Rights.
Contract duration and termination conditions
It follows from this law that a contract can be concluded for either a definite or indefinite period. This type of contract may be concluded in writing or orally. The possibility of termination by the owner is limited only to the reasons specified in the law.
1. If the tenant uses the premises in a manner contrary to the agreement or damages property or makes it a nuisance to use other premises
2. If the tenantis in default of rent or other charges for at least three full payment periods
3. If he rented, sublet or gave for free use the premises without the required written consent of the owner
4. If the tenant is using a property that needs to be vacated due to the need to demolish or renovate the building.
5. If the Owner or his first-line relative intends to reside in the premises belonging to him.
All attempts to circumvent the restrictions by writing in their reasons for allowing termination are null and void by law, and they are not binding on the tenant.
The tenant may terminate such an agreement by observing the notice period specified in the agreement.
Lessor’s rights and obligations in a rental agreement based on general principles
It is the Landlord’s responsibility to deliver the premises in a condition adequate for the agreed use and to maintain the premises in such condition throughout the term of the contract,
The landlord’s responsibilities include, in particular:
1) to maintain in good condition, order and cleanliness the premises and facilities of the building for the common use of residents, and its surroundings;
2) to make repairs to the building, its premises and equipment, and to restore the previous condition of the damaged building, regardless of the cause, except that the tenant shall be charged with the obligation to cover losses caused by his fault;
3) repairing the premises, repairing or replacing installations and elements of technical equipment to the extent not incumbent on the tenant, in particular: a) repairing and replacing the internal installations: water, gas and hot water – without fittings and equipment, as well as repairing and replacing the internal sewage system, central heating system with radiators, electrical system, collective antenna – except for fittings, b) replacing heating stoves, window and door woodwork and floors, floors and floor coverings, as well as plaster.
The conclusion of the lease agreement may be conditioned on the tenant’s payment of a security deposit securing the payment of amounts due under the lease of the premises to which the landlord is entitled on the date of vacating the premises. The security deposit may not exceed twelve times the monthly rent for the premises, calculated according to the rent rate in effect on the date of the lease agreement. The security deposit shall be returned within one month from the date of vacating the premises or acquiring ownership thereof by the tenant, after deducting the landlord’s receivables under the lease of the premises.
Increases in rent or other charges for the use of the premises, except for charges independent of the owner, may not be made more often than every 6 months. If fees independent of the landlord (e.g., utility charges) are increased, the landlord is obliged to provide the tenant with a statement of fees in writing, together with the reason for the increase. The tenant is obliged to pay the increased fees only in the amount that is necessary for the owner to cover the costs of supplying the premises used by the tenant. An increase in rent or other charges for the use of the premises in an amount that does not exceed, in a given calendar year, the average annual index of increase in prices of total consumer goods and services in the previous calendar year shall be considered justified. The average annual index of prices of total consumer goods and services in the previous calendar year is announced, in the form of a communiqué, by the President of the Central Statistical Office in the Official Journal of the Republic of Poland “Monitor Polski”.
Inspections of the premises and equipment
It follows from the provision of Article 10(3) of the Law on the Protection of Tenants’ Rights that, by prior arrangement , the tenant should make the premises available to the landlord for a periodic, and in particularly justified cases also ad hoc, inspection of the condition and technical equipment of the premises and determination of the scope of the necessary work and its performance. It follows from this provision that even when the parties did not provide for such a right in the contract, it is vested in the landlord. This is because he must be able to inspect the equipment, the repair and maintenance of which is on his side. This applies to the internal installations of water, gas and hot water (excluding fixtures and fittings), as well as the repair and replacement of the internal sewage system, central heating system including radiators, electrical system, community antenna – with the exception of fixtures.
Rights and obligations of the tenant in a contract based on general principles
The basic right is to use the rented apartment while the basic obligation is to pay the rent on time. In addition to paying rent, he should also give notice of the need for repairs that fall under his burden.
Taking care of the premises
The tenant is obliged to maintain the premises and the premises he is entitled to use in proper technical and hygienic and sanitary condition as specified by separate regulations, and to observe domestic order. The tenant is also obliged to take care of and protect from damage or devastation the parts of the building intended for common use, such as passenger lifts, stairwells, corridors, chute rooms, other utility rooms and the building’s surroundings.
The tenant is responsible for repair and maintenance:
1) floors , flooring, floor coverings and wall coverings of ceramic, glass and other materials;
2) windows and doors;
3) built-in furniture, including its replacement;
4) kitchen stoves, kitchens and instantaneous water heaters (gas, electric and coal), water heaters, bathtubs, shower trays, toilet bowls, sinks and washbasins with siphons, faucets and draw valves and other sanitary appliances with which the premises are equipped, including their replacement;
5) electrical system fixtures and protections, excluding the replacement of wiring and collective antenna fixtures;
6) coal and accumulation stoves, including replacement of worn-out components;
7) full-time central heating, and if it has not been installed at the expense of the landlord, also its replacement;
8) the drainage pipes of sanitary facilities up to the collection risers, including the immediate removal of their obstructions;
9) other furnishings of the premises and appurtenant premises by: a) painting or wallpapering and repairing damage to plaster walls and ceilings, b) painting doors and windows, built-in furniture, kitchen, sanitary and heating appliances.
The tenant may set a reasonable time limit for the landlord to make repairs if they are charged to the landlord. After the expiration of the set period to no avail, the tenant may make the necessary repairs at the landlord’s expense.
Obligation to make the premises available
In the event of a breakdown causing damage or directly threatening to cause damage, the tenant is obliged to immediately make the premises available for its removal. If the tenant is absent or refuses to provide access to the premises, the owner has the right to enter the premises in the presence of a police officer or municipal (city) guard, and when this requires the assistance of the fire department – also with its participation.
Before releasing the premises to the tenant, the parties shall draw upa protocol, in which they shall specify the technical condition and degree of wear and tear of the installations and equipment located therein. The protocol is the basis for settlements when returning the premises.
Obligations after the end of the lease
Upon termination of the lease and vacating the premises, the tenant is obliged to renovate the premises and make repairs therein that are chargeable to him, as well as to reimburse the landlord for the equivalent of the worn-out elements of technical equipment that were in the premises at the time it was handed over to the tenant. If the tenant has replaced some elements of this equipment during the lease period, he shall be entitled to reimbursement of an amount equivalent to the difference in their value between the state existing on the date of taking possession of the premises and on the date of vacating them. The amounts due shall be calculated according to the prices in effect on the date of settlement.
Adaptations of the premises – the possibility of
The tenant may make improvements to the premises only with the landlord’s consent and on the basis of a written agreement specifying the method of settlement for such improvements.
Refusal to increase rent
The tenant may refuse in writing to accept the increase with the effect of terminating the legal relationship under which the tenant occupies the premises, at the end of the notice period, orchallenge the increase by filing a lawsuit in court to establish that the increase is unjustified or is justified but in a different amount; proving the reasonableness of the increase is the burden of the owner.
Act on the protection of tenants’ rights in the housing stock of municipalities and on the amendment of the Civil Code of June 21, 2001